To ensure low drag, we developed our special aeroshell and canopy around the chassis. Being built from Carbon-Fibre reinforced Polymers (CFRP) and Glass-Fibre reinforced Polymers (GFRP) they are lightweight while maintaining dimensional stability. Whereas most parts of our solar car are built with CFRP, we used GFRP to build the canopy. The reason why we chose GFRP and not CFRP is its radio transparency, which allows us to communicate wirelessly with the solar car via Bluetooth.
The eponymous feature of our car? The solar cells! Using 4 m2 of high-efficiency single crystalline silicon solar panels, our racing car can drive 75 km/h under the Australian sun without using any battery power. The efficiency does not only come from the cells: The layout, connections, deck, cabling, electronic, ... Everything is designed to harvest all that the sun offers and not lose a single watt!
Our solar car's suspension system is a remarkable achievement in balancing driver safety, reducing weight, and minimizing rolling resistance. This was no easy task, but our mechanical team has successfully designed and implemented a double wishbone suspension system in the front and a trailing arm for the rear. We are proud to say that our three-wheeled creation is now ready to take on the harsh roads of Australia!
He’s our dangerous child: During the last race, the battery caused 2 solar cars to burn down. That’s why we designed our battery system for robustness and reliability. Nevertheless, we can drive far with our battery: Although we have 1/20 capacity of a Tesla, we can drive more than 400 km with 60 km/h in complete darkness!
The Ironbird is the backbone of the vehicle's electronic and mechanical systems. At its heart is the Inverter Control Unit, which interfaces with the drivetrain and controls the motor. The high voltage system includes the drivetrain, the battery and the Maximum Power Point Trackers (MPPTs) for optimal performance of the photovoltaic system. Next up, our steering wheel module, which is where the magic happens. With this you can easily control everything from the lighting, cameras and horn to the ventilation. And last but not least, the logger that records all network traffic to prevent data loss.
The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is a biennial event that brings together innovators from around the world to race solar-powered cars across the Australian outback. The event is not only a thrilling race, but also a platform for showcasing the latest advancements in sustainable mobility.
From solar panels to aerodynamic designs, the participating teams employ various technologies to maximize their car's performance and efficiency.
The race covers over 3000 km of challenging terrain, providing a real-world test for the solar cars and their teams. The event attracts teams from top universities, research institutes, and corporations, all with a common goal of promoting clean energy and sustainable transportation.